The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is trapped in a four square km coastal area in Sri Lanka, according to Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, as reported by Voice of America. The terrorists are putting up a stiff fight against soldiers of the Sri Lankan army who are trying to free thousands of civilians taken hostage by the LTTE. They also attempt to capture leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is guilty of atrocities committed in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
The Sri Lankan government has been put under pressure by the international community to ceasefire. “We are well aware of how the LTTE had misused ceasefires in the past and have learnt a good lesson from those past experiences,” said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka in response, as reported by the Daily News, a major news paper in Sri Lanka. “What we cannot understand is the need for these elements to come and request an amnesty for the LTTE leader who had ruthlessly killed thousands of un-armed innocent civilians,” he added.
It is believed that there are still 20,000 – 60,000 civilians held by the LTTE. About 160,000 have fled the conflict zone with the help of the Sri Lankan army, and are in temporary camps.
Some of the civilians held by the LTTE have been forced to fight with the terrorists, including young children. “They grab them from their parents and if they try to pull them back they get shot. These children have the dog tags and cyanide capsules,” says Brigadier Priyantha, a senior army commander, as reported by UK’s largest selling newspaper the Daily Telegraph reporting from Sri Lanka. Seven out of ten killed are LTTE child soldiers, some as young as 11 years old.
Beverly J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation in Canada, visited Sri Lanka and announced that Canada will increase aid to Sri Lankan civilians, up to 7.5 million dollars.
“This tragic situation for the civilians is of grave concern and our government is responding to the increasing need for assistance,” said Minister Oda, as reported by go2lanka.com, a Sri Lanka news portal. “This additional funding will provide essential food, water, shelter and medical care to the displaced populations,” she added.
Japan and China also pledged aid to Sri Lanka to help civilians to rebuild their lives. France and India have donated mobile hospitals.